Contact: Sheila Stehle, (206) 684-7688

Media Relations

November 2, 2001

Reclamation Project to Save Millions of Gallons of Water

(Water Utilities Fund Effort to Recycle Water)

SEATTLE - An innovative project to reuse water at a Seattle cement plant will save at least 6.2 million gallons of water per year and will recycle wastewater that would otherwise be sent into the sewer system.

The Water Smart Technology program is co-funding the project at Lafarge North America, Inc. (Lafarge). A coalition of 26 area water utilities, including Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), funds the program that provides financial incentives for businesses to conserve water.

"SPU and our wholesale water utility partners continue to support and promote efforts to recycle water. Water reclamation reduces the use of drinking water for non-potable uses such as manufacturing and irrigation. It also helps us better manage water for people and fish," said Diana Gale, SPU managing director. "We are thrilled to be part of Lafarge's new program."

Lafarge will use reclaimed storm water, manufacturing water and process water at its West Marginal Way site. The company will work with Evergreen Recycling, Inc. to transport water from manufacturing firms for Lafarge to use in cement production. All reusable water must meet Lafarge’s chemical make-up standards.

"Lafarge has been one of the pioneers in the use of alternate fuels and raw materials. By using alternate materials such as industrial wastewater, we are able to protect the environment and improve our economic performance," said Russ Simonson, Lafarge environmental engineer.

The project, set to be in operation by early next year, is expected to save more water each successive year it is in operation.

More than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area receive their drinking water from 26 local water providers who work in partnership to achieve water conservation goals in the region. The 2001 Water Conservation Partnership offers educational programs, financial incentives and special promotions to help residents and businesses conserve water.